Collaborating on cool: Creating partnerships for event success

Apr 12, 2016 | Brand Activations, Event Management, Event Sponsorship, Event Strategy, Marketing

As featured on Eventbrite Australia’s weekly blog.

Don’t be ashamed, we’ve all experienced that burning desire to be one of the “cool kids”.

From the school yard to festival market stall, we’ve all ached for the attention of the modern style makers. Waiting for the effortlessly cool, felt-hat wearing beauties to buy into the life/product we’re selling, deeming us Instagrammable. Instead, there you sit, behind a trestle table at a music festival trying to sell health insurance or hand out samples of a new cheesier biscuit range, while passers by actively avoid making eye contact with you. You remember why you hated high school in the first place.

All is not lost though! Remember those kids who hung around the edges of the cool group in high school who still got to go to all the cool parties? They applied the art of “being cool by association”, and you can too!

Benefits of co-branding

Today many businesses harness the power of association at events and brand activations by partnering with complementary “cool” brands. Also known as co-branding, this marketing technique has the following positive benefits;

  • attracting and engaging new audiences
  • leveraging off partner brand profiles to generate media attention
  • sharing costs of hosting an event or brand activation with other partners
  • leveraging off partner brand images to shape a positive perception of your brand
  • creating engaging, memorable experiences for your customers that increase brand loyalty and social share-ability of your event

If you’re finding it hard to get interest in your rice-milk product launch, or are looking for a new way to sass-up your next fundraising walk, try the following three steps to harnessing the power of being cool by association:

1. Know your true self

Understand the demographics and drivers of the audience you are targeting to attend your event or brand activation. This will inform and guide you towards finding the right brands to associate with.

2. Find your cool group

Be true to yourself and the values of your brand. Research and create a list of brands with complementary values, audience demographics, and products or services. If you are selling health insurance for example, health and fitness providers, health food and drinks, holiday retreats, sports and recreation products, or vitamin brands may be suitable partners.

3. Host cool parties together

Being cool by association goes beyond just promoting that you are part of a cool group. Invest in collaborating to host authentic, memorable events and/or activations that engage with your audience and turn them into positive brand advocates.

Here are a few co-branded events and activations that we can learn from:

The Brisbane Festival & The Weekend Edition (QLD) – What better way to attract attention to a festival than to stick a luxury pop-up hotel in the middle of it and give people the chance to win an overnight stay? This brand activation leveraged the younger following of partner brands – The Weekend Edition, Sheets On The Line bed linen, Wolff Coffee Roasters and Billy Kart Kitchen to raise awareness and reposition the Brisbane Festival.


Vale Brewing & CheeseFest (SA) – Like beer and cheese itself, this festival partnership stood out from the crowd in 2015. Creatively leveraged through a series of beer and cheese pairing events, tastings and beer based cooking demonstrations, Vale Brewing found an untapped market of foodies and educated them on beer pairing.


Airbnb & Sydney Opera House (NSW) – Leveraging off of a young, inquisitive audience of travellers, the Sydney Opera House will host a series of VIP events and behind the scenes tours for Airbnb’s superhosts – top rated international and local hosts – and Airbnb guests from 2015-2017. This is a wonderful way to promote a new product, whilst enabling Airbnb to provide unique experiences for its travellers.


ANZ & Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras (NSW) – ANZ have gone above and beyond their sponsorship of the Sydney Mardi Gras in 2016, transforming its Oxford Street branch into a “GAYNZ branch” with their own “GAYTM’s”. This flamboyant redecoration popped up during February and March, promoting ANZ as a relatable, youthful bank to a diverse community.

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